AP, The New York
Times, USA Today, ESPN...
Good Morning America, CNN and many other national media outlets embrace Dakoda Dowd and the Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open
In 2006, Ginn Clubs & Resorts was preparing to sponsor and produce its first-ever LPGA golf tournament at Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla. The company wanted to promote its tournament, but also to create goodwill in the local community.
As part of the sponsorship, Ginn had the opportunity to offer two sponsor's exemptions to the event, provided the individuals met the LPGA's basic eligibility requirements.
Ryan Julison learned of 12-year-old golf prodigy Dakoda Dowd whose mother, Kelly Jo Dowd, was dying of breast cancer. Her mom's dying wish was to see her daughter play on the LPGA Tour, but doctors advised that she had less than a year to live.
Kelly Jo was a former Hooter's calendar model and prior to her illness, was working as a manager at a Tampa area Hooter's location.
The Dowd family agreed to participate and opted to use this story as a teachable moment for women and families to promote early detection for breast cancer.
Word quickly spread about the petite 12-year-old girl who would take on Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa for the love of her dying mother.
Once we unveiled the exemption, media began to hear about the family's story and interest exploded. In the six months leading up to the tournament, we worked with media from around the world who were previewing what was about to happen with Dakoda and her mom.
During the tournament, we issued nearly 100 credentials for national and international media who were attending specifically to follow the Dowd family.
From the time she accepted the invitation, until she sank her last putt, the story generated a media frenzy that produced nearly three billion impressions globally.
Included in the media coverage, Dakoda Dowd received both the Play of the Day and Play of the Week honor from ESPN's SportsCenter, she was also nominated for an ESPY award for Best Moment of 2006.
ESPN repeatedly broadcast two separate full-length feature stories, both nearly 10 minutes long, one prior to the tournament and one following her play in the tournament.
Prior to the event, numerous national print and broadcast outlets produced full-length feature stories on the Dowd family and the tournament including Associated Press (whose stories ran in newspapers around the country and the world), The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Inside Edition, CBS Early Show, Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, People, Sports Illustrated, Sporting News, Time, and many others.
These publications and broadcast outlets also reported on her play during the tournament, often catapulting the LPGA tournament above both the PGA and PGA Champion's Tour events being played that weekend.
The tournament also received extended coverage in coveted golf outlets including Golfweek, Golf World, Golf Magazine, Golf Digest and The Golf Channel.
Additionally, the tournament was covered internationally by BBC, The Sunday Times (London), Agence France Presse (which published multiple stories that ran around the world), and many international television networks from countries including Japan, Germany, Australia, South Africa and many others.